Our spring break this year was a little different than our normal ones. Jake’s school went to a “balanced calendar” (it used to be called year round school but they found people to be more receptive if they called it “balanced calendar”. I still call it by its actual name–a shitty schedule. I want our summers back). He now gets two weeks for spring break and wanted to go to Daytona Beach this year since several of his friends were going to be there.  Only problem was my spring break was the second week of his spring break and all of his Daytona bound friends were going to be there the first week.  

Sigh….spoiled middle class kid problems.  

So for the first time ever, Jake started spring break without us. We had to wait until my spring break started to leave. He left on a Friday night with his friend’s family. A wonderful family I might add….but this momma bear was a hot mess.  I did wait until I dropped him off to cry and blubber about how I was going to miss him.   This is what I posted on my Facebook:

For the first time ever, Jake is starting his spring break without us. He is going with a great friend and a wonderful family but this momma is still a little worried. I don’t think he’s ever been away from me this long. And definitely not this far. So I laid down a few ground rules so everyone can safely enjoy themselves. 

No girls. No staying up late. No swimming in the ocean (sharks..obviously). No swimming in the pool without supervision. Adult supervision. No swimming right after eating. No running around the pool deck. No horse playing. No wrestling. No fighting. No crossing busy streets. No ice cream. No wandering off by yourself. No junk food. No messes. No complaining. No spending money on stuff you don’t need. No taking dares. No talking to strangers. No going without sunscreen. No ignoring my texts.

If he follows those few simple rules and wears the “I’m only 13” shirt I packed for him, he should really have some fun. 

He’s so lucky to have such a cool mom.

He made it to Sunday before he trashed his phone. He claims it got wet “by accident” but I’m fairly certain that isn’t the whole story.  He’s been convinced since he got the phone that it’s waterproof “just like the commercial” despite us repeatedly telling him otherwise.   I’m going to guess instead of it “accidentally” being splashed it was being used in an attempt to capture an underwater fart in the deep end of the Holiday Inn & Suites pool or some other extremely worthwhile endeavor.  

Not even gonna lie. I think him being without a phone was way rougher on me than on him. Not because of his lengthy texts to me (see below) but more so because  I had been tracking him on google maps since the moment he left.  

Jake’s lengthy text messages. 

Matt and I left last Wednesday after I got out of school.   Momma Bear wanted to drive straight through so she could see her baby but Papa Bear only rolled his eyes and said he was too old to drive straight through and Jake would be okay for one more day. 

Matt and I heading out.  

We made it as far as the Kentucky/Tennessee state line before we stopped for the night.  And as always. Matt took me to a classy hotel.   I think he looks for the one with the most work trucks parked out front. 

A true sign of a 5 star hotel—boot brushes permanently installed by every outdoor staircase.  

We took a new route to Florida.  Through Asheville, down through South Carolina.  We were a little nervous to use a rest area in North Carolina.  We know they take their bathrooms seriously.  We actually walked into the wrong building at the rest area. Ended up in the welcome center not the bathroom building. Matt apologized to the welcome center attendant on duty because we were fully aware trying to urinate in the wrong place in North Carolina could get ya a criminal record.  

Photographic proof we didn’t commit a crime. #nobathroombill #worryaboutREALmonsterswillya
We finally made it to Daytona by early evening. While stuck in traffic on the way to our condo we were lucky enough to listen to the Space X “used” rocket launch on the radio and actually see it.  

First successful launch of a previously launched (“used”) rocket.  

Reunited!  Although he didn’t exactly say it, I think he missed us too. 

Now it’s just going to be a bunch of our pictures with entertaining captions. Please hold your applause until the end. 

Jake and Matt watching the cars driving the beach.  For two complete gear heads a beach you could drive on is probably what they hope heaven is like.  And they are probably hoping heaven has Oreos too. Since Nabisco shipped Oreo production to Mexico so their CEO could pocket a few more million, we haven’t had an Oreo in our house.  Been a few years now. I think they are both hoping heaven will have their own Oreo production facility staffed by a union work force being paid sustainable, living wages with benefits, including vision and dental plans, so they can, in good conscience, enjoy eating Oreos again. 

Speaking of gear heads, Old Gray developed a slight problem.  Right before we left,  she started spotting a little oil.  Matt thought he had tracked down the problem and fixed it before we left but by the time we hit Tennessee we were throwing down enough oil to chip and seal the main drag of Radiator Springs.  Matt and Jake finally figured out we needed a new turbo pedestal so after ordering the part at the local Napa (seriously, Napa you should totally sponsor us—we religiously visit a store on every single trip we’ve ever taken) they changed it out in the Napa parking lot. In record time I’ve been told. 

Can’t complain too much.  Old Gray just rolled 310,000 miles and has taken us all over the country.  Since 2009, she’s taken us from the Grand Canyon, to Tampa, to Copper Harbor Michigan to New Orleans and everywhere in between.  She’s family.  Maybe the kind of family that now needs to wear a diaper and use a walker, but she’s still family. 

Sunday we spent a beautiful day on the beach with our friends Tiffani and Noah and Jake’s friend Caleb who stayed on with us after his family headed back north.   
All of us. 
Somehow Caleb got us all free daiquiris from the hotel tiki bar. Either that or he stole them. He even got some random lady to help carry them out to the beach.  

Tiffani hanging out under the canopy with Skin Cancer Cathy.  
Jake and Caleb, who never willingly pose for a picture for me, suddenly had no problem posing with Tiff before she left to head back to Tampa. Gee. Wonder why.  

Jake and Caleb waiting on some food. Two teenage boys can consume some food.  We contemplated finding an all you could eat buffet and dropping them off there for the day. 

We spent our days enjoying the beautiful weather either in the pool or on the beach.  Or in my case, under shade because I’m trying my best to avoid round 3 with skin cancer.   So that’s why I look like one of those freaky eyeless pale salamanders they find at the bottom of caves despite spending a week in Florida.  

However I did enjoy the cake section at the local Publix.  They had some mighty fine cakes. I did really well until the last day.  Then I broke down to score a cupcake. 

It was as good as it looked.  

Just like Spring Break.  

Grateful for another fabulous trip with family & friends.   Until next time…..